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Some Almost Unknown Aspects of Special Relativity Theory

Michele Barone
Year: 1997
Keywords: special relativity, scientific revolution, distortion

T. Kuhn in his book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, referring to the textbooks tradition says:

Characteristically, textbooks of science contain just a bit of history, either in an introductory chapter or often in scattered references to the great horoes of an earlier age. From such references both students and professionals come to feel like participants in a long-standing historical tradition. Yet the textbook-derived tradition in which scientists come to sense their participation is one that, in fact, never existed. For reasons that are both obvious and highly functional, science textbook (and too many of the older histories of science) refer only to that part of the work of past scientists that can easily be viewed as a contribution to the statement and solution of the text paradigm problems. Partly by selection and partly by distortion, the scientists of earlier ages are implicitly represented as having worked upon the same set of fixed problems and in accordance with the same set of fixed canons that the most recent revolution in scientific theory and method has made seem scientific. No wonder that textbooks and the historial tradition they imply have to be rewritten after each scienficic revolution. And no wonder that, as they are rewritten, science one again comes to seem largely cumulative.

In such an environment, education became a mere transmission of the orthodoxy and critical enquiry is eschewed. The aim of this paper is to draw the attention of our colleagues to some features of the Special Relativity theory which may enhance a critical enquiry.